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Updated: 8 hours 56 min ago

Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 3:49pm
The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. The research offers evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago.

New telescope attachment allows ground-based observations of new worlds

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 2:22pm
A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of planets beyond our solar system. With it, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space.

Violent helium reaction on white dwarf surface triggers supernova explosion

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:11am
Astronomers have found solid evidence about what triggered a star to explode, which will contribute to a further understanding of supernova history and behavior.

Mars' moon Phobos examined in a different light

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 10:27am
NASA's longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths.

Milky Way's 'most-mysterious star' continues to confound

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 7:05pm
In 2015, a star called KIC 8462852 caused quite a stir in and beyond the astronomy community due to a series of rapid, unexplained dimming events. The latest findings from astronomers take a longer look at the star, going back to 2006 -- before its strange behavior was detected by Kepler.

The super-Earth that came home for dinner

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:45pm
It might be lingering bashfully on the icy outer edges of our solar system, hiding in the dark, but subtly pulling strings behind the scenes: stretching out the orbits of distant bodies, perhaps even tilting the entire solar system to one side. It is a possible "Planet Nine" -- a world perhaps 10 times the mass of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune.

Surface helium detonation spells end for white dwarf

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:01pm
Researchers have found evidence that the brightest stellar explosions in our Universe could be triggered by helium nuclear detonation near the surface of a white dwarf star.

NASA's Webb Telescope to witness galactic infancy

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:04pm
Scientists will use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to study sections of the sky previously observed by NASA's Great Observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, to understand the creation of the universe's first galaxies and stars.

Astronomers reveal evidence of dynamical dark energy

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:10am
Astronomers found that the nature of dark energy may not be the cosmological constant introduced by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. This is crucial for the study of dark energy.

Solar observer created key sunspot record

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 2:49pm
Few people have heard of Hisako Koyama, but the dedicated female solar observer, born in Tokyo in 1916, created one of the most important sunspot records of the past 400 years.

Meteorite tells us that Mars had a dense atmosphere 4 billion years ago

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:42am
Exploration missions have suggested that Mars once had a warm climate, which sustained oceans on its surface. To keep Mars warm requires a dense atmosphere with a sufficient greenhouse effect, while the present-day Mars has a thin atmosphere whose surface pressure is only 0.006 bar, resulting in the cold climate it has today. It has been a big mystery as to when and how Mars lost its dense atmosphere.

ALMA and Rosetta detect Freon-40 in space

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:28am
Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESA's Rosetta mission, have revealed the presence of the organohalogen Freon-40 in gas around both an infant star and a comet. Organohalogens are formed by organic processes on Earth, but this is the first ever detection of them in interstellar space. This discovery suggests that organohalogens may not be as good markers of life as had been hoped, but that they may be significant components of the material from which planets form.

Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:29am
Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Farthest active inbound comet yet seen

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:23pm
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). Slightly warmed by the remote Sun, it has already begun to develop an 80,000-mile-wide fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, enveloping a tiny, solid nucleus of frozen gas and dust. These observations represent the earliest signs of activity ever seen from a comet entering the solar system's planetary zone for the first time.

A fresh look at older data yields a surprise near the Martian equator

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:22pm
Scientists taking a new look at older data from NASA's longest-operating Mars orbiter have discovered evidence of significant hydration near the Martian equator -- a mysterious signature in a region of the Red Planet where planetary scientists figure ice shouldn't exist.

It takes the right amount of carbon

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:22pm
Researchers have created a model that sheds new light on the formation of terrestrial planets and Earth.

Supersonic gas streams left over from the Big Bang drive massive black hole formation

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 2:20pm
A super-computer simulation by an international team of researchers has shown the formation of a rapidly growing star from supersonic gas streams in the early universe left over from the Big Bang. The star ends its life with catastrophic collapse to leave a black hole with a mass of 34,000 times that of the Sun.

Bursting with starbirth

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:12am
This oddly shaped galactic spectacle is bursting with brand new stars. The pink fireworks in this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are regions of intense star formation, triggered by a cosmic-scale collision. The huge galaxy in this image, NGC 4490, has a smaller galaxy in its gravitational grip and is feeling the strain.

Black holes with ravenous appetites define Type I active galaxies

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 1:36pm
Type I and Type II active galaxies do not just appear different -- they are, in fact, very different from each other, both structurally and energetically, new research shows. According to the results of a new study, the key factor that distinguishes Type I and Type II galaxies is the rate at which their central black holes -- or active galactic nuclei -- consume matter and spit out energy.

LIGO and Virgo observatories jointly detect black hole collision

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:36pm
The first observation of gravitational waves has been discovered by by three different detectors, marking a new era of greater insights and improved localization of cosmic events now available through globally networked gravitational-wave observatories.